Top 3 Advantages of Earning a Medical Administration Degree
Healthcare careers come in many varieties, but this particular field is one that definitely shouldn't be overlooked. Being part of an administrative team within a doctor's office, hospital, dental office, or outpatient clinic is something that many professionals find incredibly enriching. In fact, they are often very thankful for the benefits they get to experience. Here are three that stand out:
1. A Growing Number of Good Opportunities
Did you know that, in 2010 alone, about one billion visits to physicians' offices occurred across the U.S.? It's true. And more than half of those visits took place in the offices of primary care doctors.* But the annual number of medical office visits could rise significantly in the coming years due to the aging of the nation's baby boomers and new laws that give more people access to health insurance. As a result, much of the health and medical industry is experiencing an increasing need for additional qualified workers.
The field of medical office administration is one of the most affected areas. For example, the number of jobs for medical secretaries is projected to rise by 36 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations.**
Plus, this field is fairly broad in terms of the potential roles and job titles you can have. For instance, a lot of people work in the front of a medical practice and handle responsibilities like greeting patients, scheduling appointments, answering the phone, and processing payments. Many others handle tasks that are a little less visible such as those related to medical billing or compiling medical charts and records. Or if you choose to specialize in dental office administration, you could hold various responsibilities within a dentist's office. So, depending on the employer and tasks involved in a particular position, job title examples can include:
- Dental office administrator
- Medical secretary
- Medical office specialist
- Medical administrative assistant
- Medical billing specialist
- Medical records clerk
- Medical office manager
- Health information specialist
2. Good Advancement and Pay Potential
A lot of medical administrative specialists are able to advance their careers from the level of an assistant to a more supervisory or management role. In fact, a number of professional organizations exist to help those within this field expand their opportunities. They even offer ways to earn voluntary credentials—such as medical office manager certification—that many employers greatly value and respect. Two of the most prominent organizations of this kind include the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) and the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM).
When it comes to how much you can make, the numbers are just as promising. For example, in 2013, the average annual salary for a full-time medical secretary in the U.S. was over $33,000. But many medical office professionals earned well above that amount. That's particularly true for those in more advanced supervisory roles. The median salary for health or medical services managers was almost $91,000.***
3. A Fulfilling Sense of Purpose
Every day as a medical administration professional is full of opportunities to contribute to the betterment of other people's lives. Whether it's exuding warmth and cheer to nervous patients or helping confused patients understand their insurance plans, your impact can extend far beyond your important clerical or administrative duties.
* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, website last visited on November 27, 2014.
** Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, website last visited on November 27, 2014.
*** Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on November 27, 2014.